When Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” arrives in theaters later this week, it will deliver on a long-held DC promise to bring together their mightiest heroes for a world-saving adventure that will only further coalesce the DC Extended Universe. Building off the tremendous success of the DCEU’s other big 2017 feature, Patty Jenkins’ box office juggernaut “Wonder Woman,” the film will further expand the series that the Gal Godot-starring feature helped push to new heights, both in terms of box office bucks and critical appraisal. It’s a post-“Wonder Woman” world, and one that “Justice League” has plenty to live up to.
Snyder’s film will also include some other beloved characters from “Wonder Woman”: Diana’s Amazon family, a badass matriarchal society literally designed (by Zeus, naturally) to be Earth’s most fearsome warriors, though they may look significantly different than they did in Jenkins’ film. But as geek site Golden Lasso (via The Mary Sue) points out, behind the scenes pictures of the Amazons and early looks at them in action in the film show off some questionable costume changes, ones that appear to value sexuality over practicality. That’s not the Themysciran way, and it’s certainly a far cry from how they were portrayed in “Wonder Woman.”
As the Golden Lasso post notes, “The empowering depiction of the film’s female characters, including the fighting technique and stylized culture of the Amazons, were one of the things fans loved most about” Jenkins’ film, including smartly designed costumes from Oscar-winning designer Lindy Hemming that married form and function with a deep appreciation of the mythological Greek culture that birthed the Amazons. Based on photos that Snyder previously shared on his Vero account, that’s not the look that will be on display in the upcoming film.
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The Golden Lasso post compares these looks to “generic barbarian women from a game of Dungeons and Dragons” that “completely lack the unique flavor of the Greco-Roman-inspired armor ensembles that Lindy Hemming put so much thought and historical research into creating for ‘Wonder Woman.'” It’s not just the the costumes are more reliant on sex appeal, they’re also hilariously unpractical for a group of people — of any gender — who were literally designed to be butt-kicking warriors. No man would ride into battle with their midriff exposed, so why should a woman?
Compare those looks to what we got in “Wonder Woman,” where stomachs were covered, boots were often tall, and the entire overall look was in service to movement, safety, and a firm nod to the Greek god who created them.
As the Golden Lasso reminds, “Wonder Woman” began production in 2015, a full year before “Justice League” started lensing, so it appears there was a conscious decision by the “Justice League” creative team to eschew Hemming’s thoughtful and functional costumes for ones that instead lean more heavily on a sexualized design. The leather bikinis? That was a choice, and one that went directly against the costumes that Hemming crafted for “Wonder Woman.” Even more unfortunate, that apparent choice also goes against Hemming’s own careful interest in keeping up continuity between the movies, another element to consider.
In the new book “Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film” by Sharon Gosling, the author devotes a number of chapters to the warrior costumes that both Wonder Women and the rest of her Amazon sistren wear throughout the film, with Hemming opening up about her process in particular. For Diana’s so-called “hero armor” — the more colorful outfit she wore during her first appearance in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” — Hemming and her team were tasked with marrying their vision with an existing design, created by “BvS” costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who also worked on “Justice League.”
“We tried to make it lighter weight and easier to movie in for Gal, because in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ she had much less action to do,” Hemming said. Still, said hero armor looks mostly the same from movie to movie, and each costume still retains at least a semblance of practicality. Diana isn’t going to get zinged in the tummy because it happens to be hanging out.
Some training outfits in “Wonder Woman” do feature bare midriffs and a decidedly more relaxed overall feel — more cotton, less metal — and Hemming herself compared it to “sports wear” in “The Art and Making of the Film,” the Themysciran version of workout pants. It’s certainly not meant to go into battle, and the Amazons would know that. Which makes a glimpse at the Amazons fighting in “Justice League” even weirder, as a shot from the film’s trailers shows off at least a pair of Amazons riding into battle in decidedly skimpy outfits.
As some fans have noted, it’s possible that “Justice League” features flashback scenes of Diana’s Amazon family or even another tribe of warrior women. Yet Snyder himself has posted pictures of “Wonder Woman” co-star Brooke Ence wearing her “Justice League” duds, a far cry from the outfit she wore in Jenkins’ film. Perhaps she’s playing another character? But, still, what fearsome tribe of battle-prepped badasses rides into a fight wearing the minimum of clothes?
And when it comes to the possibility of flashback scenes, Jenkins’ own film also addressed the early years of the Amazons, featuring a fairy tale scene that shows off the earliest years of the Amazons — in lush animated fashion — all while wearing battle armor that closely resembles the fighting outfits they wore in the film. Are we in for another look at their beginnings, one that leans on soft leather costumes worn into battle for whatever reason other than the most obvious? In short, it’s a lot of retconning in order to make some fundamentally silly outfits fit into a universe that has already offered up a slew of impressive and unique sets of armor for its most wily warriors.
Yet Snyder’s film may also offer up another vision of the warriors that is in line with Jenkins and Hemmings’ vision, as an official still of Connie Nielsen in costume as Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta features a costume very much in line with the looks she sported in Jenkins’ film (plus a seriously great new headpiece). Now that’s a fine translation of the work of “Wonder Woman,” one befitting a warrior and a queen.
Though a closer look at a new featurette focused on Diana reveals an even weirder look at the Amazons, poised behind her in battle-ready gear…and revealed midriffs.
Leather bikinis they’re not, but practical, sensible, and suitable? No chance. Amazons are warriors. Let them look like it, lest they kick your ass.
“Justice League” opens on Friday, November 17.